This question was posed to MyPE recently; “When I saw your picture of the woman aviator (Tracey Curtis-Taylor) in front of the Port Elizabeth airport building it reminded me of the ongoing dispute regarding whether or not our airport is an international one. Most people say it is deemed not to be an international one because it does not meet the requirements set by the international organisation dealing with these matters. Having no permanent customs office at the airport, nor the main runway being too short to accommodate regular international flights were two of the reasons mentioned. Have you any other information regarding the airport’s status?”
So I asked my pilot mate Tony Bailes to clear this up for us and he replied thus; “The Port Elizabeth International Airport has international status, as you can clear customs and immigration. The incoming flight alerts the airport of needing to. The runway is long enough for me to fly my aircraft to international destinations such as Mozambique, Botswana, Zimbabwe etc. But, the runway is too short to fly a fully laden B747 from Port Elizabeth to New York so that is where the ‘issue’ of being too short raises it’s head. Hope that sorts out some issues.”
- Port Elizabeth International is international.
- The runway needs to be lengthened to accommodate long-haul international flights.